Costa Ricans downplay favored status vs. Greece

RECIFE, Brazil (AP) If Costa Rica midfielder Michael Barrantes believes his small Central American country’s national side is favored to reach the World Cup quarterfinals, he’s not about to say so publicly.

Barrantes says flatly that the Ticos are ”not favorites” in Sunday’s last-16 match against Greece. He says Greece belongs in the second round while Costa Rica arrived in Brazil as a ”dark horse” and ”surprised the world.”

Costa Rica entered the World Cup as a long-shot simply to advance out of Group D, which also included former world champions England, Italy and Uruguay. Instead, the Ticos won the group ahead of Uruguay while Italy and England were eliminated.

Greece did not score in its first two World Cup matches, needing a late penalty to beat Ivory Coast 2-1 to advance.